Tuscan Bean Soup
I think almost everyone enjoys some type of soup during the fall and winter. A warm bowl of soup can be so comforting on cold, dreary days. This Tuscan Bean Soup is one of my favorites to make, it is so hearty and filling. I like to try to cook new things often, few things are made over and over again in our house, but this is one of the few we love it so much.
I found this recipe on Williams Sonoma’s food blog, you can find it here. I have made some changes and adapted it to my taste. I use canned kidney beans instead of dried cranberry beans. I have found that I enjoy the texture of canned beans better than dried ones, and I also love their convenience. I adapted the recipe to make it in a stockpot or dutch oven like a tradition soup instead of a slow cooker, to save on time. I also found that doubling the vegetables yielded a heartier more flavorful soup. The balsamic vinegar adds such a wonderful acidity, do not forget to add it!
A couple of notes about the recipe. First, it can be made completely vegetarian by omitting pancetta, and opting for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. However, if you do not mind a small amount of pancetta in your soup, it really adds so much to the flavor. The pancetta adds a really nice smoky flavor to the soup that most people enjoy, and if you are not a vegetarian I would definitely add pancetta. Lastly, this can definitely be made in advanced and enjoyed at a later time, it keeps so well in the fridge you may need to add a little more broth to your liking, the farro really soaks up the broth over time.
2 (15 oz) cans of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 carrots, peeled, halved and cut into chunks
5 stalks of celery, chopped with leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 32 oz cartons of low-sodium chicken broth
1 – 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of farro
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
5 oz of baby spinach, baby kale or baby arugula
6 oz pancetta, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots and sauté them for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery begin to soften.
- Add garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
- Add chicken broth, kidney beans, and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Once soup is boiling add farro, and simmer for 40 minutes or until farro is done.
- Meanwhile, sauté the pancetta in a separate small skillet over medium heat until crispy. Set aside when done.
- After the farro is done, add balsamic vinegar and spinach. At this point, add any salt and pepper to taste. I add about 1 tsp of pepper, but the amount of salt you need to add will depend on the saltiness of your chicken broth.
- Continue to cook another 5 minutes, so the spinach can wilt.
- When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with pancetta.